Despite a flat market share in the United States, General Motors' adjusted net income in North America for 1999 more than doubled from the year before to $4.57 billion.
That's up from $1.72 billion in net income for 1998, when labor strikes cost GM about $2.5 billion.
The strength in North America propelled GM's consolidated adjusted net income for 1999 to $5.69 billion from $3.32 billion in 1998.
But, GM's year-end results show the automaker is still losing money in Latin America and Asia.
Plus, a 39.1-percent drop in its fourth quarter adjusted net income for North America show there is plenty of room for improvement.
Mike Losh, GM's chief financial officer, blamed the 'expected' decline in North America fourth quarter net income on two factors. One, GM produced more vehicles in the fourth quarter of 1998 to catch up after the devastating strikes. Two, retooling factories for redesigned full-sized sport-utilities hurt sales of those profitable trucks in late 1999.
Those vehicles are the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.
Consolidated net income from continuing operations for the fourth quarter fell 34.4 percent to $1.26 billion.
Net sales for the quarter rose 3.7 percent to $46.3 billion.
In its Latin America, Africa and Middle East region, GM posted a net loss of $81 million for 1999. However, GM recorded $18 million in net income for the region for the fourth quarter, up from a $161 million adjusted net loss for the same period in 1998.
'That's clearly an area where I expect improvement' in 2000, Losh said.
Although GM also recorded a loss for the year and quarter in its Asia Pacific region, it was less than the year before.
Losh said the region will improve further in 2000 as the return on investment is realized on projects such as GM's joint venture in China and a new assembly plant opening in Thailand.
GM had a net loss of $218 million in Asia-Pacific in 1999, up from a $146 million adjusted net loss in 1998.
In recent months GM has made a number of investments in electronic commerce, including deals with Commerce One Inc., NetZero Inc. and America Online Inc.
But Losh said those deals and the expansion of GM's OnStar in-vehicle communications system will not affect GM's financial performance in 2000.
Said Losh: 'While it's very important, and it will be huge in the long-term scheme of things, the impact (of e-commerce) won't be great on the 2000 bottom line.'